SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle Symphony Board of Directors has unanimously voted to name Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chief Executive Krishna Thiagarajan as its next President & CEO, Leslie Jackson Chihuly Chair. The search committee, co-chaired by Board Chair Leslie Jackson Chihuly and Board Chair Designate René Ancinas and comprised of members of the board, staff and orchestra, recommended Thiagarajan after a five-month international search for the organization’s next leader. Thiagarajan has previously held executive positions in the U.S. with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Symphony in C. Thiagarajan will begin his new post on September 1, 2018.

“We’re thrilled to bring Krishna Thiagarajan to the Pacific Northwest as the next President & CEO of the Seattle Symphony,” commented Chihuly. “In Krishna we have found a thoughtful and visionary leader who is strongly aligned with our values and aspirations. His depth of musical knowledge and business acumen combined with a deep understanding of the nuances of our industry make him an excellent choice as we keep pushing forward on our mission to unleash the power of music, bring people together and lift the human spirit.”

Thiagarajan’s track record in his past three leadership positions encompasses strong financial management including balanced budgets and significant growth in both ticket sales and donations. He has also produced numerous acclaimed recordings and several international tours, as well as commissioned new works and created meaningful education programs for students. His past leadership has included strong community and corporate relationships, and a personal emphasis on creating an inclusive organizational culture.

“We’re very excited to welcome Krishna into our Seattle Symphony family,” added Music Director Ludovic Morlot. “His passion for our mission is very evident, and I find in him a strong partner with the ability and vision to move our goals forward.”

"I am thrilled to be joining the Seattle Symphony at this exciting time in the orchestra's history,” shared Thiagarajan. “I look forward to inviting all of Seattle to join us in celebrating Ludovic’s many artistic contributions during his culminating year as Music Director next season, as well as welcoming Thomas Dausgaard in his new role of Music Director in 2019–2020. I believe the Seattle Symphony to be among the most innovative orchestras in the United States, having delivered an impressive track record of growth, artistic excellence and strong community presence. In collaboration with this outstanding group of musicians, staff and board, as well as dedicated supporters, I look forward to serving the community of the greater Seattle area as the orchestra becomes an even more prominent cultural ambassador for the Pacific Northwest.”

“Krishna has a wonderful positive energy and ability to inspire others,” added Ancinas. “As incoming Board Chair next season, I am thrilled to have such a partner in creating the next strategic vision for the organization. Leslie and I would like to thank the search committee as well as our Music Director, Ludovic Morlot, and our Music Director Designate, Thomas Dausgaard, for their thoughtful input throughout our search process.”

Thiagarajan replaces former President & CEO Simon Woods who became the CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in January after seven years of exemplary leadership in Seattle.


Leslie Jackson Chihuly Chair

Dr. Krishna Thiagarajan, DMA, was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) in August 2015. Thiagarajan joined at a pivotal moment in the Orchestra’s 125-year history, overseeing the final stages of the company’s move from Henry Wood Hall — its home since 1979 — to the purpose-built, state-of-the-art rehearsal, recording and education facilities of the RSNO Centre in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland’s UNESCO City of Music.

Under his leadership, the RSNO has increased the number of its performances, both at home and abroad; enjoyed the highest average audience figures for a generation; enjoyed year-over-year growth in earned and contributed income; and developed its international reputation, notably through a discography which has attracted global recognition. The RSNO has also become one of the busiest recording ensembles in Europe, producing critically acclaimed releases on the Sony, Chandos, Linn and Dutton labels. Also under Thiagarajan’s leadership, the RSNO has completed successful tours of the U.S., Spain and central Europe, and is now preparing for its second China tour later this year.

Thiagarajan oversaw two new appointments to the RSNO artistic team last year. In October 2018 Thomas Søndergård will take over as Music Director, having been the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2012, and Elim Chan also begins her tenure as Principal Guest Conductor this fall.

The Orchestra’s CD, Astar, which was distributed by Scotland’s Registry Office to every child born in Scotland (approximately 85,000), was developed into an app last year in collaboration with the University of Abertay Dundee and distributed as part of the Scottish Government’s Baby Boxes scheme, an element of RSNO Music for Life, an initiative launched in 2016 which provides access to high-quality music-making experiences for all, regardless of age or ability.

Thiagarajan joined the RSNO from the New York-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, where he served as Executive Director since January 2013. While there he was responsible for increasing audiences, including sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall; commissioning new work; touring the Orchestra to Japan, Colombia and throughout Europe; ensuring financial stabilization; and overseeing the Orchestra’s first self-produced recording.

Previously Thiagarajan served as President of Symphony in C ­— one of three professional training orchestras in the United States — and was Senior Director of Artistic Operations for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, Thiagarajan trained as a pianist and performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. He graduated from Indiana University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, where he studied with Leonard Hokanson and taught as an associate instructor of piano. He later received his doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park where he studied with pianists Santiago Rodriguez and André Watts.


The Seattle Symphony is one of America's leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received three Grammy Awards, 23 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.